5 Reasons Why Toddlers Reject Potty Training (It's Not To Make You Miserable)

by Cat Bowen

Potty training is one of those things people who aren't parents tend not to dwell on. It's also pretty easy to forget about once your children are older. However, for that period of parenting, it's all you can think about. If you're dealing with a potty power struggle in your home, you might be wondering what it is that is stopping the flow of progress, so to speak. Why do toddlers refuse to use the potty? I mean really, you're ready to ditch the diapers for good and it'd be nice if your child would get on board.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), potty training is not recommended before age 2 and children might not be ready for many months after that. It will take time and a lot of observation to determine if your child is ready to begin toilet training. They note that it is not uncommon for toddlers to reject potty training out of hand for any number of reasons. However, they suggest having your baby evaluated by their pediatrician before you begin the process of potty training to make sure that there isn't anything overtly worrisome that would preclude your child from training.

It's not going to be fun or simple, and if your child is rejecting the training, that just adds another layer of stress. If you notice any of these five reasons why toddlers reject potty training, you might need to step back and reevaluate.


They're Not Really Ready

This is the most common, and the most simple, notes Goryeb Children's Hospital — your kid's just not ready. It might be they became excited by the idea of it all, and the practice of it wasn't as easy as they anticipated. Maybe they don't enjoy the regimented nature of it, yet. Maybe developmentally, they just aren't there yet.


They're Not Feeling Well

According to the AAP, when kids don't feel well, it's not the best time to start potty training. They like routine and illness is already upsetting this. They're not going to be cooperative or receptive to potty training when they feel ill.


They Don't Want To Give Up Control

According to McKenzie Pediatrics, kids might view using the potty when and where they want to as one of the few things they exercise complete control over. Potty training might look like losing control to them. The website suggested giving the reins completely over to them. "Your child will decide to use the toilet only after she has nothing left to resist," the article noted. "Have one last talk with her about the subject. Tell her that her body makes pee and poop every day and that it belongs to her. Explain that pee and poop wants to go in the toilet, and her job is to help the pee and poop come out of her body."


They're Constipated

According to the website for Dr. Sears, if your baby is having a hard time going, they might prefer not to be bothered with all the rigors of potty training. The article noted that constipation "is painful, often causing tiny tears in the rectum while the child is straining, which further makes the child hold onto his bowel movements and a painful cycle continues. Suspect this if your child squats, grunts, and painfully grimaces, but produces nothing."


Changes In Routine

According to CS Mott's Children's Hospital, any change in routine can throw a wrench into potty training. Moving, changing day care providers, a new baby — all of it can make your baby reject toilet training. You might need to hold off a little longer or give them more support. Thankfully, as routines settle, so does their readiness return.

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